Dr Milan Zver was the guest of the show Evropski utrip, hosted by Boris Cipot. The Member of the European Parliament and Head of the Slovenian delegation to the EPP, spoke about the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, saying that the EPP is looking for the most suitable Spitzenkandidate to run the European Commission. He also spoke about his work on the Erasmus + Programme and the Anti-Terrorism Committee. Last but not least, Zver spoke about the upcoming local elections in Slovenia.
»There are no fatal issues for the European Union at this plenary session, but the political groups are already in the phase of intense preparations for the future European elections, namely, the procedures for the candidatures are in progress as well as determining the leaders of the lists,” said Dr Zver, adding that in the biggest political group, the EPP, there was a number of Spitzenkandidates, among them Michel Barnier, Alexander Stubb and Manfred Weber. Dr Zver pointed out that MPs had recently conducted interviews with both Stubb and Webber. “Stubb represents himself as more of a liberal within the EPP, highlighting some common values and political principles. He advocates more regulation and a stronger Brussels,” reported Dr Zver. He added that it is no secret that the vast majority of deputies, who are also delegates at the November Congress in Helsinki, are closer to Manfred Weber, who has a more realistic political platform. “Weber will face the real EU problems, notably migration, the fight against terrorism, and the issues of how to boost economic growth and consolidate the European industry, including the automotive industry,” said the MEP. He pointed out that issues related to the automotive industry will be very important in the future. “Last but not least, we will discuss CO2 emissions at this plenary session. There is now a very strong debate in the German media about how to involve carmakers in keeping the emissions as low as possible, especially in urban areas. The European Parliament also requires less emissions. The Germans are afraid that the German industry will fall into a crisis due to these demands,” stressed Dr Milan Zver. “Both candidates have thus presented their candidatures, with Weber being the somewhat more conservative one, while Stubb is a little more liberal. But the final decision will be brought by delegates at the Helsinki Congress,” said Dr. Zver, while at the same time emphasizing that the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) supports Manfred Weber. Mainly because of his active role in supporting the SDS at the National Assembly elections in Slovenia and also due to the political paradigm that Weber represents. Dr Zver said that Michel Barnier held an informal presentation, for the MPs, but he later resigned from the candidacy, as there is still a lot of work to be done by him as the EU’s main negotiator for Brexit. According to the words of Dr Milan Zver, the European Parliament elections next year will not only be a turning point, but will be also extremely important for the European People’s Party.
Then the MEP spoke about his preparations for the final report on the Erasmus + Programme, saying that he will try to increase its funding. “The European Commission proposes a twofold increase. We are in favor of more, given the enormous demand for participation in various Erasmus formats, and given the fact that the potentials are exceeding the money assigned to it. That is why we hope that we will be able to provide more money than the Commission has proposed, through the negotiations,” said Dr Zver, who is also the European Parliament’s main negotiator for the Programme. “We want to prepare the starting points for Erasmus + now, so that it can work better in the next, 2021-2027 financial perspective. We want to simplify things in the registration process for projects and programs, since the forms are too complicated at this time, and they require a lot of effort and work even for a smaller participation in Erasmus. We have proposed a simplification to the Commission, which would have to work on the changes together with the national agencies that manage Eramsus,” said Dr Zver.
Zver spoke about his work in the Committee on the Fight against Terrorism. “The first report received 1509 amendments. That is a lot. A good part was put forward by the EPP members, and I am also a co-author of several dozen amendments,” said Dr Zver, adding that every amendment will now have to be thoroughly reviewed, and compromises will have to be made as well.
When Dr Zver and the host of the show spoke about local issues, they could not bypass the local elections. The SDS Party is heavily involved in the preparations for the local elections. According to Zver, the parties of the so-called Slovenian Spring have so far been more successful in the rural area and less in urban centers. “This time we want to win both. We have won the most number of councilors in the last local elections, but this year we want to add an excellent result to the number of mayors elected.” Zver specifically emphasized the support for Dr Anže Logar and his candidacy for the mayor of Ljubljana. He added that Maribor, the second largest city, needs changes at the top of the local government as well.